Increasing numbers of illegal stowaways could threaten cross channel trade route

25 May 2015

Illegal stowaways are becoming such a serious problem for cross channel freight that carriers might start refusing to operate on that route, putting UK trade at risk, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has warned.

The association called on the British and French governments to step up security at the Calais Eurotunnel terminal and ferry port due to what it describes as a "significant recent increase in would-be illegal immigrants attempting to board trucks there."

BIFA director general Robert Keen said that the security of drivers, vehicles and customers’ loads was being put at risk.

"This can cause long delays to the scheduled arrival times of trucks in our members’ depots, jeopardise the delivery of freight for their customers and cause huge inefficiencies in their transport planning," he said.

"I believe there is a good chance that if the situation continues, international transport sub-contractors will start to refuse to operate on the Continent-UK cross channel market, due to the personal and financial risks that they and their staff are now taking."

BIFA is pressing the authorities to step up their protection of cross channel routes and encouraged members to take strong measures to secure their vehicles from the start of their journey to the Calais area.

The association welcomed news that Eurotunnel has converted its existing terminal parking area into an extended pre check-in zone in order to provide increased security for approximately 150 additional trucks at the site.

"The trade association is also pleased that later this year, Eurotunnel will be opening extended terminal facilities and a new secure truck park, which should further reduce the ability of migrants to climb aboard vehicles," Keen added.

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